By Amy Westervelt

I did not move to Oakland for its dog friendliness. I didn't even have a dog at the time--I was just looking for more space and better weather--but once I got one I was happy to discover that I was living in a remarkably dog-friendly zone.

My dog has introduced me to many miles of Oakland trails and accompanied me everywhere from small boutiques to restaurant patios to walk-up coffee windows. The debate over whether or not to allow dogs in various areas will always rage on, of course, and I'm not one of those people who thinks it's cool for my dog's hair to be all up in your cheeseburger, but I do appreciate being able to bring that little guy with me from time to time.

I've spent copious hours Googling "dog-friendly Oakland" and testing out various spots, so you don't have to. Here are some of my favorite finds:

Breakfast - Blackberry Bistro, 4240 Park Blvd., (510) 336-1088

Park yourself and your pup at an outdoor table at this Glenview favorite and chow down on Southern breakfast fare, including delicious buttermilk biscuits and creamy grits.

This was the first off-leash dog trail I tackled in Oakland and it's still my favorite. From the Dunn Trail trailhead you can take various alternate routes and they're all great. Added bonus: You can bring your dog, on-leash, to the children's playground at Roberts (which you can access via the Dunn Trail). This is huge, as getting a kid and a dog out at the same time can often seem like a Herculean task and my dog is the sort of dog that, if tied up to a bench to wait while my son plays, would drive everyone else out of the park with his yowling.

Lunch - Homeroom, 400 40th St., (510) 597-0400

Dogs are welcome at any of this mac-and-cheese restaurant's five outdoor tables, and servers often bring the dog water (and treats!) before the people. This place is super dog friendly, and now that it has an awning, it's also a nice place for dogs to cool off on a hot day.

Dinner - Bocanova, 55 Webster St., (510) 444-1233

Dogs are happy lounging on the enormous outdoor patio at this Jack London favorite, where you can choose any number of delicious Latin-inspired dishes from the restaurant's equally enormous menu and enjoy a pleasant view to boot.

Beer - Beer Revolution, 464 3rd St., (510) 452-2337

As if you needed any more reasons to hang out at Beer Revolution, it's so dog friendly it has a Facebook page devoted to The Dogs of Beer Revolution. That plus the dozens of craft beers on tap make this a hard spot to beat on a sunny afternoon.

Shop (Accessories) - Good Stock, 4198 Piedmont Ave., (510) 653-8518

This is one of those really well-curated stores where there isn't one thing you wouldn't buy for yourself or as a gift for a friend. Great jewelry and bags, non-toxic cosmetics, essential oil-based fragrances, handmade leather wallets, high-end candles, custom-made shirts, the list goes on and on and it's all capped off by the fact that I can bring my dog in with me!

Shop (Clothes) - Oak Common, 3231 Grand Ave., (510) 285-6629

A great addition to Grand Avenue, this open, airy shop has the perfect proportion of stuff to space that makes for an ideal shopping-with-dog outing. It also sells super-cute clothes and accessories for men and women from harder-to-find brands like Jack, Minkpink and BB Dakota.

Stay - Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel - 10 Washington St., (510) 836-3800

This local hotel chain does a fantastic job on both rooms and service, and the Jack London location also allows pets. Many of the restaurants here allow dogs on their patios, and there's plenty of room to walk him or her as well. (Prices range from $130 - $175 per night).


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